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Labour manifesto promises to fight for justice devolution and protect Welsh language communities

08 Apr 2021 4 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Labour’s manifesto includes a promise to fight for the devolution of tax and justice powers, as well as protect Welsh language communities.

The document launched today also vows to fight against the “attack on devolution” by the UK Government.

The manifesto was launched today by Labour leader Mark Drakeford who is hoping to secure a sixth term in office for the Labour party in Wales.

Despite the party fielding three pro-independence candidates, it shies away from any mention of independence but discussed establishing “an independent, standing commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales”.

It also vows to create a Welsh language Communities Housing Plan which it says will strengthen Welsh language communities.

The document adds that Labour “will work with partners in these communities to support young people in securing affordable homes” and “work to protect Welsh place names”.

The manifesto promises to “make the case for clear and stable tax devolution for Wales that is fit for purpose and no longer held back by the UK Tory government” and “pursue the case for the devolution of policing and justice”.

It also promises that a Labour Welsh Government will “challenge the UK Internal Market Act and its attack on devolution and champion the rights of the Senedd to legislate without interference in areas devolved to Wales”.

“We will strive to prevent the UK Conservative Government using the Internal Market Act to fund interventions not supported by the people of Wales,” it says.

“We will insist that Wales gets its fair share of the Shared Prosperity Fund and the so-called Levelling Up Fund from Whitehall and that the funding we receive is spent in accordance with our Framework for Regional Investment.”

‘Catch up’

The main pledge in the manifesto is to train 12,000 new medical staff for the NHS if Labour wins the 6 May Senedd election.

The party said there were six “ambitious pledges” at the heart of the election plans, including:

  • The “biggest ever catch-up programme in our NHS and schools we’ve ever seen”, and build a new medical school in the north of Wales
  • The guarantee of a job or a place in education, training – or help to start their own business – for every young person aged under 25
  • The guarantee of the Real Living Wage for care staff – which stands at £9.50 an hour and is more than the National Living Wage
  • Abolishing more single use plastics and create a National Forest for Wales
  • One hundred more Police Community Support Officers, bringing the number funded by the Welsh government to 600
  • Creating thousands of new jobs in a “low carbon house building revolution” including 20,000 new low-carbon social homes for rent

“This pandemic has tested all of us. Many of us have lost family members, friends, and neighbours to Covid-19, and we know that there are others still struggling with the lasting impact of the disease upon their health and wellbeing,” Mark Drakeford says in his manifesto introduction.

“We have, all of us, battled against the pandemic. We owe a big debt of gratitude to those heroes in health, care services, the police, education, other key workers and to countless volunteers. We have relied on them all to help us through the crisis. At the same time, we have all done our bit to keep things going, often under the most difficult of conditions. We must not put that hard work and sacrifice at risk.

“Social solidarity is at the heart of the Labour movement. Never have we seen that more widely displayed than in Wales during these awful times. We have stood together, shoulder to shoulder, working, whenever we could, with the other devolved nations and the UK Government.”

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